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Herman The Cat

Scenic River Cruise Coronavirus Cancellation Policy

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Posted (edited)
12 hours ago, Herman The Cat said:

DJH — that’s very interesting. My TA specifically asked them and the Scenic US office who said about 70% Australians/New Zealanders. Well, maybe it’s mostly NZ! Scenic is really not that known in the US. Most opting for a luxury river cruise in the US pick Tauck or Crystal. With Tauck, everyone we know said it was about 95% Americans and mostly from the east coast. Crystal didn’t include air and was approximately the same price as Scenic, whereas Scenic included air.  We opted for Scenic because we wanted more variety in the passenger mix and it was a better deal. [For what it’s worth, Crystal is offering cash refund or 125% FCC. I guess we made the wrong decision. 🙄]

 

Herman, I have been told by other Scenic fans that the probable reason for the lack of Aussies was the fact that it was a short trip from Amsterdam to Basel.  Apparently, most Australians prefer to the lengthier cruises.

 

I sort of understand that, but we obviously didn't fly to Europe for 7 days, we also had two weeks land touring on either side.  It was our first river cruise and we didn't want to book a longer one first off.   I must say that while I didn't mind it, my husband wasn't that impressed and I would struggle to get him to do another.

 

I didn't really think it was the "5 star luxury" that it is billed as.  While it was pleasant and enjoyable, I have had far better food and service in a 5 star hotel for half the price.  The scenery along the Rhine made it worthwhile for me though.

 

I hope you enjoy yours when you finally get to go.

Edited by djh1959

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Our cruise was in May.  I emailed them on 15 April requesting a refund for my "suspended" cruise and received an email response yesterday.

They refused my request for a refund on my "postponed" cruise citing force majeure.

I am yet to respond.

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I’m sorry to hear that. They really are playing games...and grasping at straws. My TA and I talked about that because I was curious when this ordeal started if that would apply and they spoke to their lawyer.  Any lawyer here will tell you that force majeur doesn’t mean they have no liability. They are supposed to return your money...they don’t get to keep it. Just terrible...taking advantage of customers.

 

As an example, the other day my TA sent me this language that one of their hotel booking companies used  “Please note: if a booking is eligible for the force majeure  it does not mean that XXXXX is proactively cancelling the booking  (as we are, however, doing for destinations that are closed). Instead, the global force majeure simply means that clients can – if they choose to – cancel a booking and receive a full refund without a cancellation charge.” Obviously a different type of company but they chose to handle it in a proper manner.

 

Might be worth a quick call to the lawyer in Australia who did the class action lawsuit posted in another recent thread.

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I think I’ve worked out why we aren’t seeing much U.K. input, I think it’s to do with consumer law here. CA

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Just now, Canal archive said:

I think I’ve worked out why we aren’t seeing much U.K. input, I think it’s to do with consumer law here. CA

That could well be. Terms and conditions are likely to be different from Australia and especially the North-American market in the first place, but EU laws have also been confirmed as remaining in place, despite the heavy toll it will have on the industry. And Britain is still part of this.

 

notamermaid

 

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UK Here.  They are doing the same thing to us.  110% voucher.  That's not legal here, but they don't seem to care.  We've filed a dispute with our credit card.

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Can you post what the result is with your credit card company? I was thinking of disputing the charge as well. I’m really concerned we haven’t heard a word from Scenic regarding rebooking . We were scheduled to depart May 13 from Budapest. I was ok with a credit for a future cruise, however, I’m concerned if they go out of business.. then what? I’m also concerned if they even have availability for when I want to travel in 2021.  My TA said no one is answering the phones at Scenic or responding to emails. Scenic  sent out one generic email that they are receiving an unprecedented number of calls. No kidding.  To add insult to injury the travel insurance company I purchased insurance with (Generali) won’t answer their phones or respond to emails. I’m just trying to find out if they can give me a voucher or credit since I don’t know what our new travel dates are. I’ve lost total confidence in the travel industry by the lack of customer service from Scenic and Generali. 

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BBC phone in programme (radio 4) just on now about cruise refunds, basically if you want a full refund it is you right although the worry is the length of time you may have to wait, this is where you contact the ombudsman or maybe the BBC. Riviera paid up after they got on their case. Some companies are implying that they are adhering to, non existent new ATOL scheme by refusing a refund. Most lines both river and ocean are offering incentives i.e. 125% value, or exchange  with a family member. Evidently there is a lot of discussion on how the companies can go forward. CA

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Thank you for the info, not sure what ABTA says, but here in Germany we have the Würzburger Tabelle, which is a kind of list that states what refunds you are entitled to for what scenario. It says that if the cruise line cancels and they only offer a voucher, you do not have to accept it, you can ask for a refund, which should be paid out within 14 days. In Germany, force majeure does not entitle the cruise company to do as they please per se. In these difficult times, I understand the problems of the operators and I would be willing to let my operator keep my money, but if it is not an option I would insist on getting my money back. As I said, the EU ruling still stands as of end of April.

 

I do not like this playing for time, i.e. get close to the cruise date and then say it is not happening and offer a voucher/re-book.

 

notamermaid

 

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I have had a quick look on the ABTA website: https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak

 

Excerpt: "If you booked a package holiday, you are entitled to a refund. We completely understand that for those customers that would prefer a refund to rebooking, they may feel frustrated and concerned by the amount of time it is taking. In normal circumstances a refund should be paid within 14 days. But these are not normal circumstances and the 14 day rule is simply impossible for many companies to adhere to."

 

I hope this is helpful.

 

notamermaid

 

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14 hours ago, usctrojangal said:

Can you post what the result is with your credit card company?

 

The bank took information about what happened, and of our correspondence with Scenic and that they have not offered the refund.  The dispute documents go to Mastercard.  They say we should have a credit to our account in a few days.  The company has 45 days to respond to the dispute.  They can only overturn the dispute if they have documentation to say the terms of our agreement were that they don't have to give a refund in this case.  So I'm presuming we'll get to keep the refund, because they won't be able to provide that documentation, since that's not in the terms of the booking.

 

I know it's tough for them, but they can't simply not respond to the demand when it's the law here that they have to offer the refund in 14 days.  I would have been happier if they said they didn't have the funds, and offered a time line, but they simply refused, and then stopped answering follow ups.

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19 hours ago, usctrojangal said:

Can you post what the result is with your credit card company? I was thinking of disputing the charge as well. I’m really concerned we haven’t heard a word from Scenic regarding rebooking . We were scheduled to depart May 13 from Budapest. I was ok with a credit for a future cruise, however, I’m concerned if they go out of business.. then what? I’m also concerned if they even have availability for when I want to travel in 2021.  My TA said no one is answering the phones at Scenic or responding to emails. Scenic  sent out one generic email that they are receiving an unprecedented number of calls. No kidding.  To add insult to injury the travel insurance company I purchased insurance with (Generali) won’t answer their phones or respond to emails. I’m just trying to find out if they can give me a voucher or credit since I don’t know what our new travel dates are. I’ve lost total confidence in the travel industry by the lack of customer service from Scenic and Generali. 

 

USCTrojanGal...

Your TA should be able to answer the insurance stuff easily.

Most travel insurance contains a provision on “financial insolvency”. Check which plan you have (though they do differ by state).  Here is a link to Generali...https://www.generalitravelinsurance.com/view-travel-insurance-plans.html

If you scroll down to “Features” it lists financial insolvency. Click the tiny question mark on the right side etc. to get more info. 

The Scenic website also does a good job with availability, so go to ScenicUSA.com and you should be able to get a general sense of what is available.

The website also lists the hours (right top) “contact us”. Looks like they are there starting at 10am. My TA said the wait times were very long, so they just had it on speakerphone while they did other things. It took hours. 

You might want to consider pressing your TA a bit more on this to help you. These companies (Scenic and Generali) are dealing with unprecedented volume and issues so I wouldn’t lose faith in the industry as a whole. I really suggest getting your TA on it...these are the times when good TAs are really invaluable and can really help.

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I have spoken with Scenic multiple times to no avail.  They say they are working on it and to talk to my travel agent.She has not gotten a definitive response either.  Yesterday, Scenics agent chastised me for wanting an answer.  He told me I was rushing them.  It would take ten days.  When I told him it had been 5 weeks, he said I still had to wait.  Very poor customer service.

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